My father has been gone 13 years now, a quick victim of an even quicker cancer, and there’s not a day that goes by I don’t think of him. For that reason, Fathers Day has a bittersweet quality for me. My father is one of the strongest, wisest, grounded people I have ever known and, even now, influences my life in countless ways.
I was a single mother to two small boys when my dad retired. He is a former Marine with a PoliSci degree, and worked construction all his life. He simply enjoyed the hard physical labor, despite Obama’s declaration, my father DID “build that”, and the pride in being able to say it.
In retirement, Dad had time on his hands, so he filled by being an amazing grandfather, teaching my sons the same things he had taught me; things like how to throw a baseball, how to hold a paint brush, and how to drink Hershey’s syrup out of the bottle without getting it on the floor. My father was the only male role model my boys had for many years, and I can readily see traits of his teaching in my children, specifically the sense of honor and integrity, as well as spontaneity and the love of adventure.
It’s difficult to speak of my father in the past tense. When I look around me and see evidence of him everywhere in my life, of his influence on all the people I love. My dad was an incredibly spiritual man and he promised me if there was a way back he would find it, just to let me know he was all right.
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Thankfully, I see him with me every time I look at my boys. I feel his reaching out to me when my mother tells stories of their early years together. He tugs on my shirtsleeve if I’m wrestling with a problem and don’t quite know what to do. He has taken up residence on my shoulder and guides my actions with his wisdom and wit.
I realize he is not here to go shopping with anymore, or taste test my latest culinary creation. But for me, he’s still here. I’m grateful that my father’s love and presence transcends space and time.
I love you, Daddy. I’ll talk to you later.